Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Tope Abulude designed the 'Very Best Balloon Show on Earth' Costume Party!

I would like to start this blog by declaring that I am totally in awe and full of respect for all those who design and create amazing large sculptures and large scale decor for parties! The amount of pre-planning and work involved is incredible and should never be underestimated!

Many months ago, Qualatex threw down the gauntlet and sent out a Worldwide Challenge to balloon artists offering them the opportunity to create the party decor that "only dreams are made of," where the balloons are unlimited and you have a full staff to bring it all to life!

What an amazing opportunity, but how does someone even start to plan for a party such as this?

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Tope with Norma Roberts
10 years ago there was a young man from London, England called Tope Abulude, CBA of Balloon Inspirations, who did just that, and back then, he created the Medieval themed Thursday night costume Party at IBAC (International Balloon Arts Convention.)  I remember It well as I also worked on this party creating King & Queen "Dance floor Darlings."

Once again Tope rose to the challenge and was declared the winning designer to create this year Thursday night costume party at the World Balloon Convention 2012 -

'The Very Best Balloon Show on Earth'!

How do start the designing process for a party such as this Tope?

"The design process is usually the more interesting aspect for me...I approach room design (regardless of how big it is) like it's a big centrepiece design. Then I will treat each component like they are centrepieces in their own rights. It's always back to design basics for me. The elements and principles of design are my anchor, so using space, colour, line, form etc. and how these come together in unity, harmony, rhythm, proportion to each other to define the final whole of whatever project I work on. I think taking the time to understand these fundamentals of design, and the application is what makes the difference between a decorator and a designer in any art form.Once I had submitted my drawings, I decided I was going to enjoy the journey/process this time around".

Tope was asked to submit sketches to depict decor for the following areas of the party.

Detailed sketches of specific decor elements fitting the circus theme for each of these areas: 
1.        Entrance/foyer 
2.        Stage/backdrop, including sides of stage and video screens 
3.        Ceiling treatments (ceiling height: 17 feet) 
4.        Room perimeter/focal point decor 
5.        Table arrangements for buffets/centerpieces 
6.        Special effects 
7.        Photo backdrops 

Here are a few of Tope's original sketches!

Tope Abulude

Tope Abulude

Tope Abulude

Tope Abulude

How did this party differ from the one that you did 10 years ago?

"I overworked myself during the preparation and I couldn't enjoy the party 10 years ago, ( I didn't even bring my own costume to Chicago.) This time I paced myself better and I was more organised.

I focused on my strengths and I chose to delegate a lot more than I did 10 years ago.
I arrived in Dallas early to start work on the Monday. I took breaks when I needed, and I had a fantastic team around me and a good project manager."

Tope selected the Polka Dots & Dots Bubble (15608) to create his colour palette for the party!

Here are a few photographs from the early stages of prep...

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Tope's amazing team at work!

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more Monkey's! 

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Tope's awesome team!
The Party!
It's great to see that so many people dressed up! It really does create the best party atmosphere...

I asked some of the newly qualified CBA delegates from the World Balloon Convention to tell me some of their WBC highlights, as you can see the party featured very highly!

"The costume party. The decor by Tope was fun and rich and it was great to see everyone parting and just having a good time"!   -  Malachi Robinson CBA
"The Gala and Circus decorating was amazing"! -  Tracy Hawes CBA
"The WOW Factor of all the Decor, I have only seen in magazines and online - it was so much more impressive and the techniques were easier to comprehend". - Amanda Pierce CBA
"Circus theme party and Gala dinner where everyone dressed up for the occasion"! - Annabelle Claire Tan CBA
"Helping to build the decor for the special events". - Elaine Holmes CBA
"Blown away by the Circus theme, absolutely fantastic"! - John Brew CBA

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The awesome Clown entrance arches!!!

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The 'Big Top' and Clown Head...

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'Circus' Stage Wall

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Looking across the room

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Room decor with the stage 'Circus' wall and some very cool lighting!

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Fantastic costumes!

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Guess who... this IS Ted & Betty Vlamis... looking great!

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tope Abulude and his amazing team, the decor and party was truly awesome. I would also like to thank Tope for sharing such great information, his early plans & details on how he worked to create yet another truly memorable event!

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Tope Abulude CBA,  Balloon Inspirations, London, UK
Tope has asked me to to add his own personal thanks to the following people: 

"I would like to thank contributing artists Cam Woody, Keith Stirman, Dom Cassidy, Connie Iden-Mounds, Dmitriy Tishenko, Andrey Osokin and David Debustos,  the WBC staff and Volunteers (too long a list to name) and it was a pleasure to work with Nick Otis (and his team) and LaDonna Belcher".

Before I started to write this blog, I truly wondered how you would even begin to start planning for an event on this scale? I would also have said that my own personal creativity comes in 'small, easy to handle packages', any bigger and I feel totally out of my comfort zone! However, I really liked how Tope says that he treats all his jobs like a big centrepiece design and builds each component of the decor in a similar way... wow, that really makes sense...hmm, maybe I could one day design decor on a large scale?

Well, I am off to 'BACI'-  Balloon Arts Convention Italy, where I will be making a large sculpture with 'Team Bowler'! I am hoping that they will have 'livecam' during the sculpture build again this year (Friday 20th April & Saturday 21st April), if they have, I'll make sure that I post it on the Qualatex Facebook Group page!

See you soon with some great new blogs!

Happy ballooning!


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